About this blog

This is a blog about sanitation, a topic I am most keen about. Maybe a bit too keen. Let's answer some of your questions.

What do you mean, "sanitation"?

A third of the world don't have decent toilets. We're talking about no toilets at all or reeeeaaaally shitty toilets.

Another third has toilets that look good, but end up polluting their neighbours and the environment: no sewers, full septic tanks, full pits.

It is a horrifying scandal and it keeps me up at night.

What is this blog about?

I would like to talk about ideas, innovations and research to improve sanitation in the world. Because:

  • Bad sanitation is not really a technical problem (it is political, social, economic...), but we need technical innovations, and some are really neat!
  • There's a ton of research happening on what motivates people to get good toilets, and what motivates governments to provide good sanitation. We need to use that!
  • There are some pretty creative businesses, non-profits and operators trying their damnedest to provide new toilets. We need to know them!

Why "Talking Crap"?

There are many reasons why so many people still don't have good toilets and sanitation: mostly poverty, exclusion and deep, systemic inequalities. So far, so similar to bad housing, poor employment, and so on in the long list of inequalities and injustice.

Yet sanitation has one crucial difference: it remains taboo. It is about our excreta, faeces, our shit, our crap; and about our menstrual blood, our sickness, our intimacy. The way to break a taboo is to talk about it, and this is exactly what we are doing here.

Who are you?

I am the Curious Dung Beetle. Pronouns: it / its.

Dung beetles are amazing creatures: only fungi have a better ability to reduce a pile of malodorous, nefarious and repelling pile of poo into a home, a food reserve and a nest. But fungi are too weird for me, and dung beetles are colourful. I love them.

Oh, and I am very curious indeed.

Why publish under a pseudonym?

It's more fun; it means I can talk about dung beetles now and then; and my day job is working in a big organisation with occasionally a limited sense of humour, so until I know they will all laugh when reading this blog, I will stick to a pseudonym.


Talking Crap is published under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license: you can reuse, adapt and modify the text from this website, but you must credit me and keep the same license.

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Home page cover image: Siloli Desert, Bolivia © Robert Downie.

Cover image: Panorama of toilets, by Al Sol.